“RACIST abuse was shouted at worshippers at a busy mosque.
Police were called to Eastern Avenue in Gants Hill after reports of a group of men causing damage to parked vehicles in the road.
Six men were seen heading in the direction Redbridge roundabout towards Redbridge Islamic Centre, also in Eastern Avenue.
As they reached the mosque they shouted racial abuse and threw bricks at the building, which broke glass in the front doors.
The incident occurred at around 7.45pm on Thursday (March 24), near the start of evening prayers.
A number of worshippers had already entered the mosque but there were still some people outside the building when the attack occurred.
One man suffered a minor head injury but did not need any medical treatment.
Six men were arrested by police and remain in custody at Ilford Police Station.
Chief Inspector Stan Greatrick, of Redbridge police, said: “We would appeal for anyone who was in the Eastern Avenue area and saw the group of males to contact us.
“We have spoken to a number of people in the area and continue to liaise closely with members of the Redbridge Mosque.
“We have already secured additional patrols for Eastern Avenue and we would like to reassure the local community, and those who worship at the Redbridge Mosque, that we are treating this case extremely seriously.”
Anyone with information should contact Redbridge CID on 020 8345 2632.”
From the Ilford Recorder:
“The imam of a Redbridge mosque was injured yesterday after six people tried to smash their way through the front door moments before the final evening prayer.
Windows were broken and a stone was hurled at the imam of Redbridge Islamic Centre (RIC), Eastern Avenue, at about 7.45pm.
The group allegedly shouted racist and islamophobic abuse as they tried to smash their way through to the main prayer hall of the mosque, throwing bricks at worshippers and staff.
Neighbouring homes and cars were also damaged.
The six men are now being questioned by police having been arrested after being detained by worshippers and some passers-by.
The chairman of the mosque Abul Khayer Ali said: “This is a sad day.
“Redbridge is a strong and cohesive community with long standing record of unity and cohesion.
“We will not allow such callous attacks to create a wedge in the community.
“Rather, this will inspire the RIC to work harder to engage and work closely to reduce stigma and discrimination towards Muslims in the borough.”
Environment and community safety cabinet member Cllr Shoaib Patel described the incident as “callous and heinous”, but did not believe it was a premeditated racist attack.
He added: “Redbridge has a very successful diverse, multicultural and cohesive society where residents are able to live in harmony, respecting each other’s faiths and values.
“As the cabinet member for environment and community safety in Redbridge, I assure you that the council and its partners, including the police, will not stand by and let this incident change the very nature of these successes. “
Chief Insp Stan Greatrick, of Redbridge police, said: “We have spoken to a number of people in the area and continue to liaise closely with members of the Redbridge mosque.
“We have already secured additional patrols for Eastern Avenue and we would like to reassure the local community, and those who worship at the Redbridge mosque, that we are treating this case extremely seriously.”
Anyone with information about the incident should call Redbridge CID on 020 8345 2632.”
More at The Islamic Standard. [unlink that one after more investigation – we got ‘Ed Miliband Zionist Jew’ posts, we got swastikas in Israeli flags, we got “WE HATE OPRAH FOR THE SAKE OF ALLAH!” – don’t want to link to a racist site, oh no. But goes without saying that this unpleasant blogger is as deserving as anybody else of support against Islamophobia]
Time to renew my relationship with Hope Not Hate, I think.
“The first thing Abdul Wahab heard, he says, was the shouting. “Muslim bastards; Paki bastards.” Unpleasant enough in the street. But no one expects to hear such things in a mosque.
What to do? Just six old men there, four of whom were on their knees praying when the hoodlums intervened. Nothing to do but remonstrate, shoo them away and hope.
Why the Redbridge Islamic Centre? Hard to say at this point. No one who worships there seems to know. They think the attack last week was unpremeditated. Why would whoever was responsible want to spout their bile within the mosque itself? Why the ferocity? The snarling. The physical intimidation, the wall of noise, like a swat team flying in through the window. The smashing of the toughened glass; the hurling of the reddish bricks the mosque had bought for building work? One brick, Abdul says, struck the imam, who was also injured by flying glass. He had to go to hospital. By then at least, the terror was over and the assailants were gone. “He was lucky,” says Abdul looking skyward. “God helped him.”
The physical damage isn’t much. Abdul lifts the green metal grill to show me the broken glass; by now it will have been replaced. But there is damage that can’t be covered by insurance. The shock. “We have been here for nine years,” he tells me. “There has never been anything like this.”
He says they have done everything they are called upon to do. They engage with the community. Members of his mosque have visited local Christian churches. Those who follow other faiths have been welcomed through the same door. “It’s usually open,” he says. “It was open when we were attacked. That’s why they got in so easily.””
Update 2 April 7th – today’s Woodford Recorder reports that 6 face trial. Matthew Stephenson and Daniel Leal,19 and of no fixed address, Rockylee Beale of Woodford Green, also 19, and a 15 year old boy are on bail. Ryan Jones, 22, of Ilford and Elliot Jones, 19, no fixed address, are in custody.
Update: Councillors and MP said at a meeting that the attack was not connected with the EDL.